“You’re about to have yr mind scorched, my friends!” – Thurston Moore
New single “My Childhood” out May 5
Music by David T. Little
Libretto by Anne Waldman
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK RECORDING
from the film by Michael Joseph McQuilken
Executive Producers: Beth Morrison and Thurston Moore
Performed by Timur and the Dime Museum and Isaura String Quartet
Soundtrack produced by David T. Little & Andrew McKenna Lee
Edited and mixed by Andrew McKenna Lee at Still Sound Music, East Chatham NY
Mastered by Reuben Cohen at Lurssen Mastering, Burbank, CA
Set in a nightmarish Bardo, a place between death and rebirth, a tormented writer faces down demons of his own making in search of escape. This is the premise of composer David T. Little and poet Anne Waldman’s Black Lodge — a multilayered modern opera that draws on the complex mythologies surrounding artists like William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch), David Lynch (Twin Peaks), and others. A journey into Hell and back, Black Lodge fuses industrial metal and punk with classical string quartet and opera to create something wildly vivid and new.
With music and lyrics created first, then reverse-engineered by director Michael Joseph McQuilken into an episodic art film with flashes of technicolor body horror, Black Lodge harnesses a bristling energy that wowed a packed house at Opera Philadelphia’s Festival O22 when it premiered in October 2022 in a production by Beth Morrison Projects. The debut merged elements of the film with live performance by Timur and the Dime Museum, prompting the New York Times’ Zachary Woolfe to remark how “…the music embraces Little’s longstanding interest in the grittier side of pop, the dark, pounding industrial ‘nu metal’ style of (I’ll date myself) Slipknot, Korn and System of a Down,” to say nothing of industrial, metal, and goth paragons Nine Inch Nails, Meshuggah and The Cure, or classical composers like Monteverdi, Mozart, and Mahler.
Fans of David T. Little’s other groundbreaking projects (Dog Days, Haunt of Last Nightfall, Soldier Songs) might think they recognize this work’s dark, existential terrain. But Black Lodge is after something different: “I was seeking something beautiful in Black Lodge,” Little writes in his album notes, “though deep down I still believed Burroughs’ notion that ‘you have to live in hell to see heaven.’ I now see that I had both written myself into and out of that hell. In going through it, I found a new and healthier way of being that I didn’t consciously know I was seeking — a resolution the Man in Michael Joseph McQuilken’s artful screenplay is not granted.”
Despite his fate and plaguing demons, that Man — played with aplomb by the incomparable Timur — still somehow finds his way into our hearts. He renders “My Childhood,” the haunting (and seemingly haunted) first single from the recording, with a mournful sense of longing mixed with underlying dread, as though at any moment a rift could open up and swallow him whole. When a menacing disembodied voice (also Timur) suddenly growls the words “Look closer: pitch oozing out. Always pitch underneath. Millions of red ants crawling all over. Look closer,” the dread becomes a window into the dark forces he’s fighting against, and we’re right there with him.